Opinion – China’s massive economic advantage over the world is about to disappear – China Daily Mail – John Gelmini

This article by the China Daily Mail is not only overstated but it is also wrong, at least for the short-term.

The number of workers does not matter very much in the interim period, as more factories in China, like the one Dr Alf wrote about last week in an earlier blog, move to fully automated robotic production.

The same goods can be produced and the same foreign exchanged from exports as before but with more profit for the firm.

Since a lot of these factories are really owned by the Chinese military, the money less the costs of managing them goes back to the Chinese Government.

The issue that becomes critical over time is job creation for those who are not academically inclined and the care of older people.

In the past before China became the “workshop of the world” close knit family units could remain as one based on a rural economy which allowed the old to be cared for by those who still worked.

If factories become automated and populated with robots then the workforce that remains has 6 main options:

1) Upskill and take the jobs not done by robots

2) Learn to service the robots until such time as they become self replicating or self servicing using pre positioned parts stocks

3) Re invigorate the poor rural economies using more efficient farming methods which if the UK and the Danes had any sense we could help to teach them (English and Danish farmers are some of the world’s most efficient).

Surplus produce could be exported along with specialist herbs for alternative medicines which are needed by beleaguered Western healthcare systems plagued by obese, demented and diabetic ridden people that it cannot afford to deal with and who now need to take responsibility for their own healthcare.

4) Accelerate the “Go Out/Bring Back In ” programme” by getting more Chinese to leave the country and start businesses which then enable more money to be sent back home as well as reducing the requirement for those who have gone overseas to be employed at home.

5) Train more youngsters to go into business for themselves and wherever possible become self-sufficient where they are.

6) Recycle the additional profits made by robotics into a bigger fighting fund for overseas acquisitions of businesses making similar things and transfer the overseas production back to China

John Gelmini

First unmanned factory takes shape in Dongguan City – People’s Daily Online

English: Logo of the People's Daily 中文: 人民日报题字

English: Logo of the People’s Daily 中文: 人民日报题字 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is an amazing, must-read article published by China’s leading paper People’s Daily. Check it out!

via First unmanned factory takes shape in Dongguan City – People’s Daily Online.

It’s worth reading the article carefully and then reflecting on other industries around the world. Technology and especially robotics is likely to take an increasingly share of the unskilled jobs.

Personally, I still think that there are valuable tasks for those with less skills. Rather than pay unemployment benefits surely, surely it would make sense for governments to harness this resource effectively? Possible options include compulsory national service, social service helping the needy, or environmental service, cleaning up the rubbish blighting modern society. Mumbai provides an outstanding example in mobilizing the poor to collect and recycle rubbish.

There evidence is overwhelming, traditional jobs are disappearing, being replaced by technology or off shored where they can be performed more cheaply or more effectively.

Let me ask an open question:

How should responsible governments respond to the demise of traditional jobs?